LAPD officers shot and killed a man in Koreatown early Saturday morning. Just hours after the fatal shooting the family of the victim, 27 year old Steven Washington, said he had suffered from autism. The veteran officers involved in the shooting explained he was acting suspicious, did not comply with their investigative demands and appeared to be reaching into his waistband. Fearing he was reaching for a weapon each officer fired once. One bullet struck Washington in the head.
With a new case of autism being diagnosed every 20 minutes, the future of law enforcement is sure to see potentially innocent situations like this repeated indefinitely. How can we make sure the outcome is different? The answer right now is awareness among the law enforcement community. Officers need to know what autism is, how it affects an individual and what to do when encountering an autistic individual.
- AELE Law Journals offers a written training
- The Chicago Tribune reported on police training
- Sahara cares offers a police training
In short, the beginnings of resources are out there and more are being developed. Will we utilize them quickly and accurately enough to ensure the events of last night do not repeat themselves?
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Disclaimer: Please note, contact your doctor on any therapies, supplements or actions you take for your child. This article and its contents are for information only and should not be misconstrued as medical or legal advice.